6.4/10
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Birth of the Blues (1941)

Approved | | Music | 7 November 1941 (USA)
Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. ... See full summary »

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(story), | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Aunt Phoebe Cobb
...
Louey (as Rochester)
...
Blackie
...
...
Wolf (as Horace MacMahon)
Ruby Elzy ...
Ruby
...
Pepper
Danny Beck ...
Deek
...
Suds
Perry Botkin Sr. ...
Leo (as Perry Botkin)
...
Henri Lambert
Harry Rosenthal ...
Piano Player
Edit

Storyline

Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. They struggle to get their jazz music accepted by the cafe society of the city. Betty Lou joins their band as a singer and gets Louie to show her how to do scat singing. Memphis and Jeff both fall in love with Betty Lou. Written by Lisa Grable <grable@unity.ncsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Strike Up The Band ! * Here comes happiness . . . in a merry medley of romance . . . and rhythm ! See more »

Genres:

Music

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 November 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sinfonia Bárbara  »

Box Office

Budget:

$857,283 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Loosely based on the story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the New Orleans band that brought jazz and blues to national prominence in 1915-1917. Bing Crosby's character, Jeff Lambert, is based on clarinetist Alcide "Yellow" Nunez, the founder of the band. The cornetist, Memphis (Brian Donlevy), is based on the band's arrogant cornetist, Nick La Rocca. Trombonist Jack Teagarden, who appears in the film, was a member of the band for a time in the 1920's. See more »

Connections

Features The Golden Princess (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

The Waiter, and the Porter and the Upstairs Maid
Music and Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Bing Crosby, Mary Martin, Jack Teagarden and band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Birth of the Blues was an enjoyable Bing Crosby vehicle
28 December 2015 | by (Baton Rouge, LA) – See all my reviews

I think I saw a clip of this movie when I watched a special on PBS a couple of decades ago called "Remembering Bing", that clip being of Crosby and Mary Martin whistling. Anyway, this was quite entertaining despite the inaccuracies that abounded. In the New Orleans sequence where a bunch of black musicians were playing, it took me awhile to realize that one of them was Mantan Moreland with his familiar bug eyes-who I knew was a native of Monroe, Louisiana. Nice color sequence involving slides being shown. One might be put off by some of the violence shown near the end but it did result in a touching scene involving Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. So on that note, I do recommend Birth of the Blues. P.S. Since It's a Wonderful Life is my favorite movie, I do like citing when players from that are in something else. Here, it's Charles Lane, Sarah Edwards, and Lillian Randolph from there who appear here. Oh, and a few decades after this movie, Bing's daughter Mary played a character on "Dallas" who was revealed to have shot Mary Martin's son, Larry Hagman, as J. R. Ewing there.


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